‘Tipu Sultan left his last meal unfinished’

Yes, we have speciality dishes and desserts like the set dosa and Mysore bonda and Mysore pak. But is there anything truly unique to Mysore called the “Mysore Cuisine?” like say Goan cuisine or Mughlai?

The surprising claim is “yes” and it comes from the mouth of Mohideen Sultan, the corporate chef at the Orchid Park Plaza in Bangalore, who will soon become the first chef to obtain a doctorate in heritage cuisine from Delhi University, and who devotes a whole chapter in his dissertation to Tipu Sultan.

In the latest issue of Simply Bangalore, the supplement which comes with India Today magazine once a month, Mohideen speaks of his curiosity about the Tiger of Mysore.

“I’ve been fascinated by Tipu Sultan for many years. Books and chronicles only illustrate his bravery and his exploits in war. I’ve always wondered what it must take for a man to have been at war for 18 years out of the 20 years of his rule… About the strength and immunity required for a life like that and where it must have come from,” Mohideen tells Nirmala Ravindran.

Mohideen thinks, in fact he is convinced, that it was the food that Tipu as well as his army ate that sustained them for so long. Just what they ate, Mohideen doesn’t quite say in the story titled Sultan’s Savouries. But he speaks of the biryanis that the royal families consumed to the mutton gravy that was specially cooked overnight for the soldiers to the fruit-based dishes that worked as health guards.

Mohideen believes that natural herbs and ayurvedic concoctions too could have kept the armies soldiering on.

“Today, we have vaccinations, immunisations and so many ways of protecting ourselves. It is my belief that in the old days food was their only protection.

“Natural herbs like tulsi (basil) sometimes used in kababs work as antioxidants fighting against free radicals in the body. The power of ayurveda is not to be undermined. This was more prevalnt in the cuisine in the south than in other parts of the country.

“Let me give you another example, sandalwood and coconut water sherbet with rose petals is unique to Karnataka.It not only cools the body but also works on improving the immune system.”

Mohideen’s current favourite is the mutton nahari, which he says is a speciality of the Muslim community not just in Mysore but all over.

Whether Tipu had a weakness for this, and whether his mental and physical strength came from it, is for some scholar/historian to tell us, but a little known fact about Tipu is that he left his last meal unfinished.

Upon the entry of the British troops, Tipu is believed to have got up from his meal and gone to battle, never to return.

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10 Comments »

  1. None of the books on Tipu or Srirangapatna mention about the food habits of the Tiger of Mysore. Wonder from where Mohideen came to know of the ‘biriyans of the royal family consumer with mutton gravy’! However, almost all these historical records says that Tipu left his last mean unfinished to fight against the British, who had already entered inside the Srirangapatna Fort.

  2. Farid Raza said

    I am from United States. I recently came to know about a book on Tipu Sultan which was published in America 2 years ago. The title is (The only king who died on the battlefield). My uncle read this book and I think, this novel on Tipu Sultan is very well detailed and may throw some light on Tipu Sultan’s daily routines. The novel is available for sale on online book stores like amazon, barnes&noble and http://www.authorhouse.com.

  3. Syed Nizam said

    Before Starting to give my comment on tippu sultan I would like to tell you something that, Tippu Sultan is not only king of Mysorehe is a king of Karnataka, becouse Earlier days karnataka is known as Mysore. In the year of 1956 India is divided into States on the basis of Religious and in the year of 1973 it was change the name from Mysore to Karnataka, becouse in the state of Karnataka, the mother tongue is Kannada so it is changed to Karnataka. In another great man said that Karnataka is the Place where Kannada mother tounge is familier so it named as a Karnataka.

    The Tippu Sultan Of Mysore is one of the best King in the Earth, there is no doubt that is he good king of all the relegious side, and as well as he is good family care taker becouse he a only one king that he does not care about the partiality about the religious and he did not make any difference between the Muslim & Hindus, so that reason today also tippu name will take with fully respectfully, honestly and honerably.

    • Ramachandran said

      Mr. Nizam, U are incorrect on Tipu’s religious tolerance, please read abt tipu’s invasion to Malabar & Travancore.

  4. kiku said

    Yeah! another great King along the lines of Ghori,Aurengzeb and Co. His signatures could be seen along the coastal lines of Kerala where People shiver at his name even now.Anyway It should be admitted that he was a great military strategist. It is said that he caught hold of women folks of Raja of Coorg and bravely commanded their surrender.

  5. Tuhin said

    I am from Bangladesh though my mother is from India. And from my grandmother I have heard that she was the grand daughter of Munwar Sultan who was the grandson of Tipu Sultan. Now I need help of you to write a book on the decendants of Tipu. If you have any information about Tipu pls let me know. My email address is tuhinrah16@yahoo.com. Pls let me know.

  6. Tausif ahmed said

    Tippu sultan was great king in the history of the world, he had never missed his asar namaz in his life:-) unforgetable Tippu sultan………..

  7. Abdulla said

    i love tippu a lot,he is our hero.the truth,the vali,the brave,the right.

  8. M.F.ABBAS QURAISHI said

    Tippu Sultan, the greatest ruler and the great human being, who has sacrificed his life for the cause of the nation and people. He is in our hearts. He will be rememberd by all till the world is there.

    JAB TAK SURAJ CHAND RAHAY GA,
    TIPPU SULTAN TUMHARA NAAM RAHAY GA.

  9. Prof. B.R.venkataramu said

    The personality of Tipu Sultan has dominated the country’s imagination for over two centuries. His implacable enmity with the British and his bravery on the battlefield are legendary; he was one of the few Indian kings to defeat British armies. Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, the former President of India, in his Tipu Sultan Shaheed Memorial Lecture in Bangalore (30 November 1991), called Tipu Sultan the innovator of the world’s first war rocket.

    Supreme Court judge, Justice Markandey Katju, has used the example of Tipu Sultan to illustrate the point that Hindu-Muslim relations suffer from the rewriting of history to project Muslim rulers as intolerant and bigoted, whereas there was ample evidence to show that the opposite was true. Not only that Tipu paid annual grants to 156 temples, but that he enjoyed cordial relations with the Shankaracharya of Sringeri Math to whom he had addressed at least 30 letters.

    We see Tipu as political visionary, idealist, scientist and dreamer. Tipu not only as the warrior we all know him as, but also as the statesman, the innovator, husband and father. He pioneered rocketry weapons, began the Channapatna toy industry, established the silk industry, brought about innovative ideas in taxation and statesmanship. Tipu worked hard for the welfare of his subjects and his numerous contributions include his construction of roads, building tanks and dams, fortifying numerous palaces and forts, promoting overseas trade, commerce and increase in agricultural output.

    During his rule, Tipu Sultan laid the foundation for a dam where the famous Krishna Raja Sagara Dam across the river Cauvery was later built. He also completed the project of Lal Bagh started by his father Hyder Ali, and built several ports along the Kerala shoreline. His dominion extended throughout North Bangalore including the Nandi Hills, Kanive Narayanapura, and Chickballapur. His trade extended to countries which included Sri Lanka, Oman, Afghanistan, France, Turkey, and Iran. We are proud to say that Karnataka state gave birth to such a great personality.

    He was the most powerful of all the native princes of India and the greatest threat to the English position in southern India. Tipu Sultan known as the Tiger of Mysore was the ruler of the Sultanate of Mysore. He used many Western craftsmen, and this gun reflects the most up-to-date technologies of the time. Under his leadership, the Mysore army proved to be a school of military science to Indian princes. The serious blows that Tipu Sultan inflicted on the British in the First and Second Mysore Wars affected their reputation as an invincible power.

    Tipu Sultan, with his dignified personality and simple lifestyle was more than just an ordinary leader. He was greatly respected by his people and earned the trust of various international allies such as the French, the Amir of Afghanistan and the Sultan of Turkey, to assist him in his fight against the British. Tipu Sultan was the founder-member of the ‘Jacobin Club’ that served allegiance to the French. A true patriot like his father, Tipu visualized the forthcoming danger of the expanding British’s East India Company. Tipu’s main dream was to oust the British from India. He saw that the only way to do this was to form a united front of the Marathas, the Nizam of Hyderabad, and all the other princely states. But of course, in this he was unsuccessful, everyone preferring to follow their own path for their own personal gain.

    Mysore was then too strong and, under Tipu’s efficient and dedicated administration, was growing too much in power for his neighboring states to feel secure. The Marathas in the northwest, joining the Nizam in the north, became embroiled with Tipu in 1785. They were defeated, but Tipu gave them very lenient peace terms in the vain hope of winning their friendship against the English, who he knew would resume hostilities with him as soon as they could. Simultaneously, he continued his friendly overtures to the English. Isolated from his neighbors in India, he also sent embassies to France and to the Caliph at Constantinople to gain their support, but little real benefit came of it.

    Tipu Sultan, the ruler of the Sultanate of Mysore (20 November 1750, Devanahalli, 33 km North of Bangalore city – 4 May 1799, Srirangapatam) also known as the Tiger of Mysore, was a son of Hyder Ali, a military officer in service to the Kingdom of Mysore; he rapidly rose in power, and became the de facto ruler of Mysore in 1761. His mother Fatima or Fakhr-un-Nissa was the daughter of the governor of the fort of Kadapa. He was given a number of honorific titles, and was referred to as Sultan Fateh Ali Khan Shahab, Tipu Saheb, Bahadur Khan Tipu Sultan or Fatih Ali Khan Tipu Sultan Bahadur. He was was a hero whose struggles on three fronts – against the Nizam of Hydrbad, against the Marathas, and against the British colonisers – have been rather accurately.

    Tipu took over rule of the kingdom upon his father’s death. In addition to his role as ruler, he was a scholar, soldier, and poet. At the request of the French, he built a church, the first in Mysore. He was proficient in many languages. He was in many respects striking figure in the history of India. The British Government expected a war of succession in Mysore and decided to utilize the time thus gained for securing more strategic places.

    He helped his father Haider Ali defeat the British in the Second Mysore War, and negotiated the Treaty of Mangalore with them. In alliance with the French in their struggle with the British, and in Mysore’s struggles with other surrounding powers, both Tipu Sultan and Hyder Ali used their French trained army. He remained an implacable enemy of the British.

    Tipu Sultan was a farsighted person who could foresee East India Company’s design to get entrenched in India. He therefore negotiated with the French for help and also sought assistance from the Amir of Afghanistan and the Uthmani Sultan. The British were scared of Tipu’s growing strength and after their defeat in 1783 they formed an alliance with the Nizam of Hyderabad and Marhattas. The French, however, deserted Tipu after the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. The British availed the chance with the help of the Nizam and the Marathas, and started the third Anglo-Mysore war in 1790.

    This is all the more creditable when it is remembered that Tipu was not an ordinary foe of British, but one whose indomitable courage and command of resources in men and money appeared at one time to shake the very foundations of British dominion in India. Being attacked from two sides during the battle of Travancore, the forces of Tipu fled pell-mell from the field. But he swore in a paroxysm of shame and disappointment that he would not quit the place until he carried the “contemptible wall”. The attempts of Mysore sultans to establish their authority over Kerala failed miserably, but it paved the way for the British to establish the supremacy.

    The 1792 campaign was a failure for Tipu. The allied army was well-supplied, and Tipu was unable to prevent the junction of forces from Bangalore and Bombay before Srirangapatam. After about two weeks of siege, Tipu opened negotiations for terms of surrender. In the ensuing treaty, he was forced to cede one half of Mysore’s territory to the allies, and deliver two of his sons as hostages, till he paid in full, the sum of Rupees Three crores and Thirty lakhs fixed as the expenses of the British campaign against him. He paid the amount shortly and got back his sons from Madras. Hats off to the sacrifice of his own sons for the cause of patriotic ethics. The life and achievements of Tippu Sultan, ‘”as not attracted that attention of the general historian of India, which it deserves.

    Tipu Sultan’s patriotic spirit burned brightly within the hearts of future Indian freedom fighters, paving the path for overthrowing the British Rule in the years to come. Tipu Sultan was a benevolent and instrumental leader, whose constant valiant efforts against the British oppression in southern India resulted in his name being etched in the annals of Indian history. As long as the British fought alone, Tipu always defeated them. But he could not come over their diplomacy, conspiracy and intrigue.
    The historical records say that Tipu left his last meal unfinished to fight against the British, who had already entered inside the Srirangapatna Fort. Tippu has sacrificed his life for the cause of the nation and people. He is in our hearts. He will be remembered by all till the world is there.

    – Prof.B.R.venkata Ramu, Professor & Head Dept. of English, Govt. First Grade College, Chickballapur, Karnataka, INDIA

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